The Zoo de Granby is happy to welcome a new African elephant which arrived by land transport from the Pittsburgh Zoo’s International Conservation Center this week. Thandi, a 28-year-old female with an excellent genetic background is destined for breeding with Tutume, a 20-year-old male. She’ll also be joining Sarah, a 36-year-old female. The Zoo de Granby is very proud to have been selected among other institutions to welcome this elephant, and has worked in close collaboration with the team of the Pittsburgh Zoo for several months to prepare for the arrival of Thandi.
For the time being, the pachyderm is staying in a separate space under observation by the Zoo de Granby Animal Care personnel, in collaboration with two staff members of the Pittsburgh Zoo who accompanied the animal here.
If everything goes well, visitors will be able to see Thandi in an outdoor habitat in the next few weeks. In the meantime, visitors can see Sarah and Tutume in their outdoor habitat in the African Continent sector of the zoo every weekend during autumn, until November 3.
Learn More About Sarah, Tutume… and Thandi!
Sarah was born in September 1983 and was kept at the Jardin des Merveilles de Montreal before she arrived at the Zoo de Granby in 1988, where she has been a resident ever since. Sarah has never breed and becoming pregnant at her age could bring about complications for her and her offspring. Our present efforts have therefore been focused towards finding a proper breeding age companion for Tutume, who was born inside the zoological setting of Germany’s Berlin Zoo on April 9, 1999. Tutume has been at the Zoo de Granby since the summer of 2013. According one of our Animal Care technicians who visited the Pittsburgh Zoo last week, Thandi is calm, curious and very cooperative during the daily biomedical training.
The Zoo Is a Committed Partner!
Since 2015, the Zoo de Granby has been collaborating with the personnel of Campo Ma’an National Park in Southern Cameroon, to protect elephants living around the park’s outskirts. One of the objectives of this project is to understand and solve conflicts between the human population and the elephants residing there as well.
Many villages suffer from damages done to their crops and fruit tree plantations caused by the elephants. The communities themselves are at risk when these elephants walk through their villages. Valérie Michel, a Zoo de Granby Animal Care technician, went to the park during the summer of 2019 for a second year to participate in finding solutions to this problem. To keep the aboriginal Bagyeli Pygmy tribe safe, the Zoo de Granby was inspired by an idea from Disney and the Oxford University who invented a beehive fence concept. Since elephants don’t seem to appreciate the presence of these insects, the hives, placed in different areas around the plantations, help farmers protect their crops as well as the villagers. Furthermore, the hives offer a thriving honey production, which represents a new source of income for the population.
The Precarious State of Elephants in the Wild
Poaching activities have increased in many African countries: 35,000 elephants have been killed annually over the last five years for illegal trafficking of ivory, essentially sent to Chinese markets. There are several factors which explain why poaching activities are decimating the species: poverty, an absence of efficient monitoring, corruption and a higher demand for ivory by consumer countries. Loss of habitat is becoming a major stake as well, due to deforestation brought about by the mining industry and road construction. We estimate that today there are still more African elephants being poached than there are births, which means that populations will, of course, diminish in a not-so-distant future. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) assesses that there are still between 420,000 and 650,000 African elephants in the wild: They were close to 20 million at the beginning of the 20th century.